Doctor explaining the cost of a vasectomy to a patient.


What’s the Cost of a Vasectomy? How to Get Safe, Long-Term Birth Control

PlushCare Content Team

Written by PlushCare Content Team

PlushCare Content Team

PlushCare Content Team

The PlushCare team is composed of medical doctors, registered nurses, and health experts who enjoy writing about health topics. Our content is reviewed by our team of medical professionals to ensure accuracy.

Eugene Tutko, MD

Reviewed by Eugene Tutko, MD

May 1, 2024 / Read Time 12 minutes

A vasectomy is by far one of the safest, most effective, and affordable options for long-term birth control.

This minimally invasive procedure blocks the tubes carrying sperm from the testicles, ultimately preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg during ejaculation. It has a success rate of about 99%, providing long-term, worry-free birth control. Once you’re healed and a few months have passed, you can have sex without worry of an unplanned pregnancy.

Vasectomies don’t impact your sex drive, sexual enjoyment, or the ability to ejaculate.

The only difference is that sperm is absent from the semen. With technological advancements, telemedicine consultations for vasectomies are increasingly accessible. This allows men to discuss the procedure, risks, and benefits with a healthcare professional from the comfort of their homes.  

While the actual procedure still demands an in-clinic visit, telemedicine platforms like ours can streamline the process and enhance accessibility.  

Understanding vasectomy costs: safe, affordable birth control for men

Vasectomy prices usually range anywhere from $0 to $3,000, depending on your insurance coverage, location, and where you have the procedure done. Several factors influence the total cost, including 

  • Your insurance plans. 

  • The insurance company you are with. 

  • The facility where the vasectomy is performed (hospital, clinic, doctor's office, etc.). 

  • The specific method used for the vasectomy (physicians have different techniques for this procedure). 

Private insurers generally provide coverage for vasectomies, with some companies offering partial cost coverage. Still, they are not covered by Medicare Part A or Part B as Medicare deems them elective procedures.  

Vasectomies do not fall under the list of 10 essential health benefits that all insurers must cover, unlike birth control options for individuals capable of pregnancy. Always consult your health insurance provider to verify the coverage for this procedure.  

Remember that even if your insurer covers vasectomies, you might still incur out-of-pocket expenses. If you possess a health savings or flexible spending account, you can typically use these funds to pay for a vasectomy. Furthermore, before scheduling a vasectomy, it is wise to compare the costs associated with having the procedure at a hospital, clinic, or physician's office.   

Types of vasectomies and related costs

Non-scalpel vasectomy 

No-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) is a minimally invasive procedure that involves creating small openings in the scrotal skin. During this procedure, your doctor will locate and secure the tubes beneath the skin using a small-ring-like clamp.

He will then make a minor incision near the vas deferens tubes on the scrotum and then carefully extract the tubes using a technique called 'supination maneuver.' Your doctor will then rotate their wrist to remove the tubes, cutting them and sealing the ends with sutures before cauterization.

The incision is usually less than 10mm. This is one of the safest and widely favored methods, with minimal bleeding, no scarring, reduced discomfort, and a quick procedure. 

Conventional vasectomy 

With conventional vasectomy, an incision is made on one side of the scrotum to extract a vas deferens, followed by clamping it at two points. The segment between the clamps will then be excised, and the open ends will be sealed with sutures and cauterized using an electric needle.

The sealing method may vary, using techniques like tying or clipping. Once the sealing is completed, the vas deferens will be carefully returned to the scrotum, and the process for the other vas deferens will be repeated. Local anesthesia will be administered to the scrotal area beforehand, or an anesthetic cream will be used to alleviate the pain.

It is a well-established procedure with a proven track record of success and effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. It doesn't require specific anatomical requirements and can be performed on most men regardless of individual variations, and slightly cheaper than the no-scalpel vasectomy in some areas.

On the other hand, it requires an incision and stitches, leading to a slightly longer recovery time (around 1-2 weeks) and potential discomfort, and there's a higher risk of bleeding and infection compared to the no-scalpel method. Costs vary depending on location, surgeon fees, and facility costs.  

Vasectomy vs. tubal ligation costs

When considering permanent birth control options such as sterilization, it's crucial to be informed of what your choices are. There are two standard permanent procedures: tubal ligation for women, also known as "tubes tied," and vasectomy for men.

A vasectomy works by blocking the release of sperm during sexual activity and intercourse, and tubal ligation works by cutting or blocking the fallopian tubes, which are responsible for transporting a woman's eggs to the uterus for fertilization. Unlike a vasectomy, the recovery process for tubal ligation is not as swift, and women usually spend several hours in the recovery, with the possibility of returning home the same day.

Tubal ligation poses a risk of ectopic pregnancies, a severe medical condition where the fertilized egg attaches to the fallopian tubes or abdominal cavities.

Regarding costs, tubal ligations are pricier than vasectomies, ranging from $5000 to $8,000 compared to vasectomies, which cost about $1,000. While both procedures are relatively safe in their modern forms, tubal ligation carries a higher risk.

Despite its popularity, there might be better choices for your family, considering factors such as side effects, costs, and even recovery time. Our board-certified doctors will guide you in determining which method works best for you. 

How a Vasectomy Procedure is Done

The procedure typically lasts about 30 minutes and is done as an outpatient procedure.

Here is how it works:

  • You will be requested to remove any jewelry or any object that could obstruct the process before the process. 

  • You will then be given a hospital gown to wear 

  • Your doctor will advise you to empty your bladder 

  • Once ready, you will be asked to recline on an examination table 

  • Your scrotum may be shaved and cleansed with an antiseptic solution. 

  • The surgeon will administer a numbing medication in the scrotal region, typically when the patient is still awake. 

  • A small incision will be made in the upper scrotal area to locate the vas deferens. 

  • Sensations of gentle pulling may be experienced as the vas deferens are drawn through the incision. 

  • Using small clamps or ties on both ends, the doctor will sever the vas deferens 

  • The exact process will be repeated on the opposite side of the scrotum. 

  • Closure of the incisions may not necessitate stitches due to their minimal size in many cases. However, small stitches or skin adhesives may be used to close the wound in some scenarios. 

What to expect after surgery

After a vasectomy, you can go home right after the procedure. Consult your surgeon about pain relief medication options. You can also use an ice pack on the first day to minimize discomfort and swelling. Here's what to expect during recovery: 

  • Take it easy at home the day after the surgery. Avoid strenuous activities. 

  • You may resume work in 1 to 3 days, depending on your job type. 

  • You should be able to return to most of your regular activities within a week. 

  • You might need to wear a jock strap for a few days. 

  • Sexual activity can typically resume after about a week but continue using birth control.  

  • Inform your healthcare provider if you experience: 

  • A lump in your scrotum 

  • Any discharge, bleeding, redness, or swelling 

  • Fever 

  • Chills 

  • Increasing pain or pain not relieved by medication 

  • Difficulty urinating – your healthcare provider will provide additional post-procedure instructions based on your circumstances. 

Remember, pain tolerance differs widely, and if you encounter severe pain or unusual symptoms, reach out to your doctor immediately. After surgery, a follow-up appointment will usually be scheduled within one to two weeks to assess healing progress and do a semen analysis to verify the success of the vasectomy. 

Vasectomy risks: potential complications  

Vasectomy is a safe and effective procedure, but there are potential risks like pain, inflammation, and infection. Your doctor will discuss these with you before the procedure.

Common side effects  

hese typically manifest within the initial days following the procedure and usually subside spontaneously: 

  • Pain and Discomfort: While manageable with medication and rest, slight pain, swelling, and tenderness in the scrotum are frequent. 

  • Bruising and Bleeding: Minor and typically resolve on their own. 

  • Infection: Rare but can be managed with antibiotics. 

  • Blood in Semen: May persist for several ejaculations post-procedure. 

Less common side effects 

These are less common and may necessitate consultation with your doctor: 

  • Chronic Scrotal Pain: This enduring discomfort post-healing is rare but warrants medical assessment. 

  • Granuloma: A benign lump that develops around leaked sperm from the sealed vas deferens. Typically, it is not alarming but may require drainage. 

  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia

There is a common misconception that vasectomy impacts testosterone levels. However, vasectomy solely hinders sperm passage without affecting testosterone production in the testicles, and research indicates no significant testosterone level changes post-vasectomy. 

Does having a vasectomy affect testosterone levels? 

No. Vasectomies do not affect T levels. Testosterone plays a huge role in men’s well-being, influencing muscle growth, sexual function, and bone density. This hormone also impacts energy, mood, and overall health. 

The impact of vasectomy on testosterone levels is a common concern, but studies show no significant effect on hormone production post-procedure. Several factors can impact testosterone levels, including diet, lifestyle, age, medical conditions, obesity, and certain medications. Low testosterone levels may result in symptoms such as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction (ED), mood disorders, fatigue, and muscle loss.

While short-term hormonal changes may occur after the vasectomy procedure, these usually resolve over time without necessarily interfering with testosterone production. Men will maintain their healthy sexual performance post-procedure; however, do not rely on it for protection against STIs.

Monitoring prostate health through regular check-ups is essential for all men, regardless of vasectomy status.

Studies also indicate that vasectomy has no notable impact on testosterone levels post-procedure. Serving as a reliable and permanent birth control method, vasectomy provides assurance and improved sexual satisfaction for men and their partners, eliminating worries about unintended pregnancies.  

Post-vasectomy recovery

After the procedure, you may not feel much due to the anesthesia. Your scrotum will be bandaged, and as the numbness fades, your scrotum may be tender, uncomfortable, or painful, with possible swelling and bruising. 

Having someone else drive you back home after the procedure is advisable to avoid putting unnecessary strain on the surgical site. Rest for 3-5 days, and you can do light activities.

Most men typically resume normal activities in 7-10 days; some take up to 2 weeks. Listen to your body, use pain relief medications when needed, and call your doctor if you have any concerns. Avoid strenuous activities like weightlifting or running for a week.

Usually, sperm production continues but is blocked from reaching semen. Semen analysis through two tests 8-12 weeks apart confirms sterility. Use condoms until sterility is confirmed. Some decrease in semen volume may occur, while sensations during ejaculation might vary slightly. However, orgasms and sexual pleasure remain unaffected after vasectomy. 

Financial considerations of unforeseen complications 

Although rare, unforeseen complications could necessitate further medical attention, increasing costs. Expenses such as follow-up appointments, semen analysis, opting for general anesthesia instead of local anesthesia, and medications may contribute to the overall expenditure. Compare costs and services from various clinics or urologists.

It can help to negotiate potential discounts or payment arrangements directly with the clinic. An HSA can also help with costs.

Consider financing options with transparent terms and interest rates only if it's affordable and manageable. While cost is essential, it shouldn't be the only factor in your decision-making.

It’s important to prioritize working with a skilled healthcare surgeon. Talk to the staff at your doctor’s office about payment plans or other options if finances are a concern. 

Cost benefit analysis of vasectomy vs. birth control  

While a vasectomy may have a higher initial cost, its long-term financial advantages compared to other methods make it a compelling option. Costs typically fall between $1000-$5,000 depending on location, facility expenses, and surgeon changes.

Additional costs may include medications, anesthesia, and follow-up appointments. Birth control options, on the other hand, costs depend on the chosen methods; for instance, monthly pills cost between $15 to $50, while intrauterine devices (IUDs) may require an upfront payment of $300 to $1,000, and implants cost between $400 and $900.

Seen as a single investment, a vasectomy can save you thousands of dollars when compared to continuous birth control expenses over many years. However, it’s crucial to recognize that it’s not a universal solution.

This is especially advantageous for couples opting for a child-free life or seeking permanent sterilization. Moreover, a vasectomy eliminates the need for daily pill reminders or refills, future birth control prescriptions, doctor visits, and potential pregnancy-related expenses.  

Long-term perspective 

A vasectomy, when performed correctly, offers a permanent solution for birth control. By obstructing the vas deferens, it stops sperm from mixing with semen, preventing pregnancy for life, with chances of failure less than 1 in 1,000 people. Despite this minimal risk, the potential for microscopic reconnection of the vas deferens underscores the need for post-procedure semen analysis to confirm sterility, more so if considering a reversal later. Doing a vasectomy at 50 or beyond is a personal decision, and while age doesn't impact the procedure's efficacy, several factors warrant consideration: 

  • If uncertain about future childbearing desires, vasectomy may not align with your goals. 

  • Consult with your physician regarding any health issues to ascertain suitability for the procedure. 

  • Assess potential savings compared to long-term birth control costs if affordability is a concern. 

It’s impossible to visually detect if someone has undergone a vasectomy or not, even though appearance or sexual function. With vasectomy, you have complete privacy of the procedure without any external indicators. Here are some misconceptions and highlighting lesser-known facts about vasectomy: 

  • Myth: Vasectomy impacts testosterone levels. 

  • Fact: It has no bearing on testosterone production. 

  • Myth: Vasectomy diminishes sexual enjoyment. 

  • Fact: Research reveals no notable changes in sexual function or satisfaction post-procedure. 

  • Lesser-known fact: Though rare, some individuals may undergo transient mood fluctuations due to altered hormonal levels after vasectomy, typically resolving swiftly. 

  • Lesser-known fact: While vasectomy doesn't guard against STIs, regular screenings and safe sexual practices remain essential. 

Planning your vasectomy 

Talk to a family doctor so you can carefully consider vasectomy based on your unique circumstances and family planning goals.  Our trusted online medical doctors through Plushcare will help to get the sexual and reproductive healthcare you deserve, at an affordable price and with unparalleled convenience.   

Vasectomy FAQs  

How much does a vasectomy cost in the US? 

A vasectomy typically averages anywhere between $1,000 to $5000. However, actual costs may differ depending on various factors such as insurance coverage and the location of the procedure, the anesthesia you choose, the type of vasectomy you need, follow-up costs, medicines, etc. 

Is vasectomy 100% guaranteed? 

Vasectomy is highly effective, with a success rate of over 99% in preventing pregnancy. While it is a permanent form of birth control, it typically takes about three months post-procedure for the vasectomy to take full effect, ensuring no sperm is present in the ejaculated semen. It is crucial to undergo a sperm test to verify this outcome. 

Can I get pregnant if my husband had a vasectomy? 

A vasectomy is a highly effective method for preventing pregnancy, with pregnancy rates approximately 1/1,000 after the first year and between 2-10/1,000 after five years. Most studies suggest that post-vasectomy, the chance of pregnancy for a couple is less than 1%. 

What's more permanent than vasectomy? 

In contrast to a vasectomy, the recovery period for tubal ligation is not as swift. Following the procedure, the woman will spend several hours in a recovery room, with the possibility of returning home on the same day. She will require several days for recuperation. This method provides a more permanent sterilization option.

Does a vasectomy affect testosterone? 

A vasectomy changes the mechanics, allowing pregnancy, but doesn't induce biological changes in males. Consequently, testosterone levels remain unaffected; studies indicate that these procedures show no enduring influence on men's testosterone levels.

Are there side effects of a vasectomy? 

Potential complications from a vasectomy may involve hematoma formation, infection, sterilization failure, sperm granulomas, short-term postoperative pain (such as nodal pain, scrotal pain, and ejaculation pain), and the development of chronic pain syndrome.

How much does a vasectomy cost vs tubal ligation? 

Due to the requirement for general anesthesia and the overall intricacy of the process, tubal ligation may amount to around $5,000. On the other hand, the cost of a no-scalpel vasectomy can range from $600 to $1,000, depending on the location and practitioner. 


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